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Rio and Melbourne swelter through scorching summer

Australian city swelters through hottest night in 108 years
Sydney (AFP) Jan 12, 2010 - The Australian city of Melbourne has sweltered through its hottest night since 1902, with temperatures topping 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit), meteorologists said Tuesday. Millions tossed and turned in the overnight heat in Australia's second city, with power cuts exacerbating the problem in some areas and some people even resorted to nocturnal trips to the beach to cool off. "It's probably the most uncomfortable night I've ever had Down Under," said Andrew Jefferson of Ballarat, west of Melbourne, who emigrated from Britain in 2001. Thousands of homes were without power as electricity companies' equipment failed in the heat. The city was also hit by hundreds of train cancellations on Monday, enraging commuters. Meteorologists said earlier this month that the last decade was the hottest on record in Australia.
by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Jan 12, 2010
As much of Europe and the United States shivers under one of the coldest winters on record, Rio is basking in a southern summer heatwave with Brazilians flocking to the beaches to cool off.

Temperatures have soared in the city to more than 40 degrees Celsius (101 Fahrenheit), although with the added humidity meteorologists said it felt more like 50 degrees (122 Fahrenheit) on the streets.

A record high was recorded on Sunday at 10:00 pm in the Praca Maua area of central Rio de Janeiro when the mercury soared to 40.4 degrees, the National Weather Institute said.

By Monday the temperature was still at 40.1 the highest across the Latin American country, and the heatwave is set to continue until the arrival of a cold front accompanied by heavy rains at the end of the week.

A high-pressure front and a lack of winds were blanketing the eastern coastal city, preventing the heat which builds up during the day from escaping, explained meteorologist Marcelo Pinheiro.

With many Rio residents already on holiday, the beaches including the famous Copacabana and Ipanema have been packed, transformed by a sea of colorful parasols. Others headed for the waterfalls of the tropical forests of Tijuca.

Doctors have, meanwhile, warned the heat could lead to a fall in blood pressure and cause fainting spells.

"It's as if you are in a sauna. To compensate for the heat, the body sweats. That causes a loss of sodium and potassium. The best thing is to drink coconut milk and isotonic drinks," said hospital director Carlos Moraes.

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Australia sweats through long, hot winter
Sydney (AFP) Aug 27, 2009
Drought-hit Australia endured an exceptionally hot winter, with abnormal temperatures shattering records that had in some places stood since World War II, official figures show. In a special climate statement released late Wednesday, the weather bureau said maximum temperatures in August were broadly three degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the long-term average. "August ... read more

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